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Using QuickBird imagery to detect cover and spread of post-fire straw mulch after the 2006 Tripod Fire, Washington, USA

Posted date: April 25, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Publication Series: 
Research Note (RN)
Source: Res. Note RMRS-RN-43. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p.

Abstract

Agricultural straw mulch is a commonly applied treatment for protecting resources at risk from runoff and erosion events after wildfires. High-resolution QuickBird satellite imagery was acquired after straw mulch was applied on the 2006 Tripod Fire in Washington. We tested whether the imagery was suitable for remotely assessing the areal coverage of the straw mulch treatment. Straw mulch was easily identified in the imagery because of the distinct spectral signature of the mulch against the burned background. The measured straw cover on the ground was correlated to the modeled cover in the imagery with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.47, and a rank analysis indicated the ability to predict relative straw cover amounts on the plots with a rank correlation of ρ = 0.40. Better correlations may be possible if the time between the image acquisition and field validation was shorter. Our results encourage further exploration of the use of high-resolution imagery for research applications and postfire management.

Citation

Lewis, Sarah A.; Robichaud, Peter R. 2011. Using QuickBird imagery to detect cover and spread of post-fire straw mulch after the 2006 Tripod Fire, Washington, USA. Res. Note RMRS-RN-43. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p.